Tonsillitis, snoring and sleep apnea

Swollen tonsils from tonsillitis can lead to snoring and sleep apnea or worsen a current sleep disorder. Tonsillitis is especially common in children with sleep apnea, which is a common reason for tonsillectomy in the United States. Although more rare, swollen tonsils can also cause sleep apnea or snoring in adults.It should be noted that while snoring may be associated with sleep apnea, it is not all People who snore have sleep apnea. Snoring occurs due to vibrations in the soft tissues of the upper airway, and enlarged tonsil tissue can cause these noises.

sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that causes a person to stop breathing during sleep. As the name suggests, this is usually caused by blocked airways, including swollen tonsils. Obstructive sleep apnea can significantly reduce the quality of your sleep; symptoms of OSA can range from mild to severe, and if left untreated, OSA can have serious health consequences. Common symptoms of OSA may include:

  • Snoring or noisy breathing during sleep
  • Sleep apnea (this is usually observed by a parent or spouse)
  • Choking or gasping during sleep
  • sleepless
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)
  • Children with OSA may have hyperactivity, behavioral or social problems
  • Difficulty getting up in the morning
  • headache in the morning
  • memory or learning problems
  • Irritability, depression, mood swings
  • Mouth breathing, which can cause dry mouth or sore throat when you wake up
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Tonsillectomy for sleep apnea

Has your healthcare provider recommended a tonsillectomy, or are you considering whether this could help stop your child from snoring? About 79% of children with OSA tonsillectomy are relieved of symptoms. However, if you wait, the symptoms of sleep apnea only go away on their own in about half the time. Discussing with your healthcare provider will help you understand whether waiting is a better option for you, as tonsillectomy carries some risks.

If you are an adult with sleep apnea, your healthcare provider may choose to have a tonsillectomy to improve symptoms. This may be successful in adults with enlarged tonsils. However, adults often require CPAP.

Other causes of sleep apnea

You should know that while tonsillectomy has been shown to cure sleep apnea when swollen tonsils are the cause, you may encounter many other causes of sleep apnea. Other potential causes of OSA include:

  • overweight or obese
  • Nose or sinus problems, including a deviated septum, nasal polyps, hypercongestion, enlarged adenoids, or enlarged turbinates
  • Your natural anatomy, including the size of your tongue, the opening of your windpipe, and the shape of your head and neck
  • nerve problems
  • getting older
  • Your throat muscles or tongue relax more easily during sleep than the average person
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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does snoring cause a sore throat?

    Yes, snoring can cause a sore throat. Snoring and sore throat caused by snoring are common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This condition can cause apnea during sleep. This can affect sleep quality, cause morning headaches, and even affect memory.

  • Can adenoidectomy treat obstructive sleep apnea?

    If enlarged adenoids are the cause of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), removing the adenoids can potentially treat it. This removal process is called an adenoidectomy. Before considering surgery, try other treatments first, such as using nasal sprays to control swollen adenoids or antibiotics in case of infection.